Curtis Granderson of the Yankees looks on against the Seattle...

Curtis Granderson of the Yankees looks on against the Seattle Mariners at Yankee Stadium. (May 14, 2013) Credit: Jim McIsaac

What can the Yankees expect from Curtis Granderson when he returns to the lineup against the Padres on Friday night?

Turns out, probably a lot.

The Yankees have 55 games left to either secure a Wild-Card berth or, improbably, wrestle control of the AL East away from the Red Sox and Rays. Granderson is key to the Yankees achieving either route.

Granderson suffered a broken forearm after he was hit by a pitch during his first at-bat of spring training, which kept him out until May 14. Granderson returned for eight games, batting .250 with a home run. But a pitch hit him on May 24, causing a broken hand, this one keeping him on the disabled list until Friday.

Granderson is, essentially, just beginning his season. And that’s good news for the Yankees. Since he was traded to the Yankees before the 2010 season, Granderson has been largely productive during his first 55 games played:

First 55 games:

2010 – .232 batting average, .310 on-base percentage, .416 slugging percentage (.726 on-base plus slugging percentage), 7 home runs, 22 RBIs, 28 runs

2011 – .272/.342/.601 (.943), 17 HR, 41 RBIs, 44 R

2012 – .255/.348/.532 (.881), 17 HR, 33 RBIs, 39 R

2010-2012 average: .253/.332/.504 (.836), 14 HR, 32 RBIs, 37 R

Of course, Granderson isn’t playing in April and May, he’s playing in August and September. But even that’s good news for the Yankees. Here’s how he’s performed during the final 55 games of his three seasons in pinstripes:

Last 55 games:

2010 - .250/.34/.533 (.874), 14 HR, 35 RBIs, 31 R

2011 – .256/.369/.522 (.891), 13 HR, 42 RBIs, 45 R

2012 - .201/.270/.471 (.741), 14 HR, 44 RBIs, 28 R

2010-2012 average: .236/.323/.508 (.831), 14 HR, 40 RBIs, 35 R

Not much of a difference in either set of numbers.

And that’s important, considering the Yankees need Granderson to be a difference-maker.

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